John Little: Making Plants Work For People
John’s life with green roofs started when he self built his own home in Essex. The green roof on John’s new house consisted of the standard green roof structure, onto which he literally dumped soil from the foundations. That was 17 years ago and the roof is still growing strong. A few years ago a colony of Bee Orchids appeared from nowhere!!
He has since designed and built small green roofs buildings throughout South Essex and London over the last 20 years. often combining the living roofs with habitat walls made designed to support solitary bees.
John and his family often share their home and garden with the public in aid of local causes including The Essex Wildlife Trust.
John’s company the Grass Roof Company does landscape contracting and green roof construction in Essex and London. John also part owns Green Roof Shelters, a company that produces modular design bike, bin and freight container green roofs.
In 2007 John’s company was awarded Silver Gilt at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for a garden based on the work they pioneer for the green spaces within social housing. John worked closely with the residents of the Clapton Park Estate, Hackney – in fact it was the first time a council estate had entered the show.
Along with Dusty, John was also co-author of the Timberpress Small Green Roofs: Low tech options for Greener Living with Ed Snograss and Nigel Dunnett.
Dusty got involved with green roofs because of his love for birds, especially the black redstart. Through this he came a campaigner and green roof ‘guru’ in the UK.
Although he now spends most of his time working as a consultant designing and advising on green roofs in UK and abroad, he is still as enthusiastic about small scale green roofs. ‘All to often on big commercial builds/designs there is actually little interest in the green roof really. On the small scale you know that whoever wants to build one really is really engaged’.
Delivering biodiversity on green roofs is still the ultimate aim of his work. Of course, and quite rightly, sustainability and climate change adaptation are important too. ‘Imagine if all the sheds in one neighbourhood were greened. think of the benefit that would bring to local bees bugs and butterflies.’
Dusty Gedge is a recognised authority, designer, consultant and public speaker on green roofs. He has worked on GI Projects in the UK for the last 15 years. Some of this are recognised as seminal projects especially in London as well as advising virtually on projects across the world through his consultancy firm Green Infrastructure Consultancy [GIC].
Dusty has also been a TV presenter on a number of UK shows and makes his own Green Infrastructure and Green Roof and Nature Videos.